Big Bertha retires from Rupp

Big Bertha
Big Bertha

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Big Bertha, the iconic speaker cluster that has been in service at Rupp Arena since its opening in 1976, will be lowered to the ground one last time on Monday, May 9th for a “Bye Bye Bertha” Farewell Gathering on the floor of Rupp Arena.

The theme song from 2001:  A Space Odyssey will play as she descends from the ceiling.  This was the song that was broadcast from Bertha’s horn cluster when the first public tours of Rupp Arena were given during Lexington Center’s Grand Opening in the Fall of 1976.

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According to Bill Owen, Lexington Center President and CEO, “Lexington Center staff and the LCC Board of Directors have been invited to gather together for a group photo and to bid a fond farewell to Big Bertha. In addition, Merrill Richardson, Lexington Center’s longest serving employee and original designer of the Bertha Sound System, will be present.”

“Big Bertha has served the arena well for 40 years. She has witnessed some of the biggest names in entertainment and historic moments in Rupp’s storied basketball history,” Owen said. “While it is certainly sad and somewhat bittersweet to say goodbye to this iconic symbol, we are very excited to usher in a new era with the installation of the new, state-of-the-art center hung video scoreboard and sound system next Fall,” he continued.

The new center-hung video scoreboard is part of the $15 million technology upgrade taking place over the next five months. Improvements include a new sound and lighting system, new roof rigging system and wireless internet service.  LED screens in the four corners of the arena and ribbon boards have already been installed.

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